Hit the road with us on the German autobahns, famous for being the few public roads in the world without speed limits. Dine with us at the Provencale Sunday market. And, of course, have a glass of wine with us in Haut-Médoc, home of one of the most celebrated vineyards in the world.
We planned to visit beautiful places in Europe in June 2005. We had a business meeting in Vienna, and our planning started here. In the beginning, we planned to see Bayer, a little bit of the Alps, and maybe a little bit of North Italy. But our appetite grew the more we talked about the trip. And finally, our plan looked as follows:
- 20 days
- 7600 km
- Ten European countries, including the destinations like Venice, Monaco, French Riviera, Catalunya, Pyrenees, and Bordeaux.
The plan looked pretty demanding in terms of driving but also included the possibility of seeing a lot.
From Tallinn to Vienna
Everything started as planned. Finnjet by Siljaline departed from Tallinn at 11 AM towards Rostock. We had a nice seaside cabin with a window and TV on the ferry. It was good to relax on the ship by reading books and doing nothing. Being on a trip of 25 hours, we arrived in Rostock at 1 PM, an hour later than planned.
We had a TomTom navigator installed together with GPS in the trunk. This setup helped us a lot. Driving by the navigator’s instructions makes driving as easy as at home. It also saves a lot of time as you type in the destination address, and the navigator calculates the best route for that drive. When we left Rostock Harbor, the navigator estimated that we would be in the hotel in Oberammergau, Austria, at 9 PM, and we were there strictly at that time.
German highways are well-known for their quality and speed. The average pace on that day was 130 km/h. That includes rest breaks and lunch. There are enough rest areas by the autobahn to have a cup of coffee and snacks or stretch your legs.
We arrived in Oberammergau at about 9 PM, a pretty Alpine village. There were two restaurants in the town at this time of the day (or should I say night). One of them did not want to serve us and only spoke German. The other restaurant had amiable staff, and the food was also delicious.
The next day, although the weather was rainy, we visited the ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Neuschwanstein Castle. The Neuschwanstein Castle is King Ludwig’s magnificent and most famous castle, built in a neo-Late Romanesque style. From that castle, Walt Disney got the inspiration for the courts for his animations. The castle was stunning, but we did not take any pictures as it was rainy.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a Bavarian town where the Winter Olympics took place in 1936. The houses in Garmisch-Partenkirchen are beautiful and decorated with frescos. Also, the whole atmosphere in town is tranquil and friendly.
After Garmisch, we headed to Vienna. We crossed the German-Austrian border and paid the highway tax for two weeks. Austria requires all vehicles using the autobahn to display a highway tax sticker, “Autobahn Vignette,” on the vehicle’s windshield. The quality of the highway declined after the border. Several roads were also constructed, so hopefully, the streets will be much better.
The gasoline prices dropped after the border. In Germany, the price was 1,33-1,35 EUR per liter, and in Austria, 1,10-1,15 per liter.
Vienna welcomed us warmly. Thanks to the navigator, we found the hotel in no time. As there were so many road construction projects in Vienna, it would have been very challenging to find the right way without the help of a navigator. In Vienna, we visited Schönbrunn Palace and walked into the old town. Vienna has very commodious old town-wide streets and lots of space. Schönbrunn palace is magnificent with its gardens. Also, the tour of Maria Teresa was exciting; I would recommend it. Usually, it is also recommended to have a Sacher cake in Vienna, but it seems to be hype.
Read more about crossing the Alps.